This morning I was attempting to share one of my Google Apps Google Calendars with my default Gmail account with full access rights however it kept changing the sharing mode from Manage Changes and Manage Sharing to See Only Free/Busy (Hide Details). At first I thought it had to do with the calendar I was sharing too already being shared back to this calendar with lower calendar event rights however after I deleted all traces of the calendar I was still running into the same issue. Turns out the issue was in the Google Apps dashboard for the Google Apps Calendar I was attempting to share to the normal Google account. Below I describe the issue in more detail and what settings need to be modified in the Google Apps dashboard to allow you to share Google Apps Calendars with full admin privileges.
Share Google Apps Calendar With Google Calendar With Full Privileges:
By default Google Apps has some fairly strict Calendar settings regardless of if the Google Apps account is a free one or one of the paid Google Apps accounts. The default settings for Google Apps Calendars will only allow you to share a specific calendar outside of the Google Apps domain with the “See only free/busy (hide details)” privilege level. To allow a Google Apps Calendar users to share with different privileges there must be a Google Apps Service Settings modification. You should however be careful with the privileges you provide to the users as it is possible to leak confidential meeting information outside of the Google Apps domain if users are not educated in what it means to share Google Apps Calendars with full privileges.
Google Apps Calendar – Four Privilege Levels:
- See only free/busy (hide details)
- See all event details
- Make changes to events
- Make changes AND manage sharing
The default is to only allow Google Apps Calendar sharing at the “See only free/busy (hide details)” privilege level which provides the least risk. What this means is that the person who the calendar is shared with will only be able to see when the person sharing the Google Apps Calendar is available or not available. The second Google Apps Calendar privilege level is “See all event details” and will allow the person receiving the Calendar share to see all of the events and the details of those events. This obviously opens the door to some risk depending on the level of detail that internal employees are using in meeting requests. One example of how this coule be risky would be if there was an all hands on deck company meeting in the big conference room and a thief was able to view the calendar then they would know that there will not be anyone in any of the offices during the times the meeting is going on. The third privilege level for Google Apps Calendars is “Make changes to events” which would allow the person whom receives the Google Apps Calendar share to make changes to the Google Apps Calendar users calendar. This should never be necessary unless the situation is something like the secretary of the Google Apps Calendar user doesn’t have a Google Apps account for one reason nor another. The fourth and final privilege level, which is “Make changes AND manage sharing”, really opens the door for error as it allows the person who receives the calendar share to not only modify events but also to share the Google Apps calendar with others outside of the Google Apps domain.
Google App Services – Modify Google Apps Calendar Sharing Privilege Level
To modify the Google Apps Calendar privilege level open the Google Apps dashboard as shown in the below example image. The dashboard can be reached by visiting http://www.google.com/a/yourdomain.com/ or by logging into Gmail, clicking the gear icon in the top right corner of the Google Apps accounts Gmail interface as shown in the below example image.
Google Apps Management – Gear Icon Menu – Manage
As you can see above the Manage menu item is what will launch the Google Apps management dashboard. If you have not spent much time in the Google Apps management dashboard I would suggest you take some time and click through all of the available settings as it is pretty cool how much you can customize everything. Below there is an example of the primary Google Apps dashboard screen.
Google Apps Management Dashboard:
Once you have explored the Google Apps management dashboard click on the Settings top navigation menu item which is where the services such as Calendar, Chat, Drive and Docs, Email, Google+, Mobile, and Sites settings are managed. The first service which is typically Calendar will be open by default as shown in the below example image. This is where you will be able to change the Calendar sharing privilege level.
Google Apps Calendar Settings:
Set the privilege level you want users to be able to have and remember this settings is Google Apps domain wide so make sure you understand the security risks of anything outside of the default. Once you save the Google Apps Calendar privilege settings it may take some time to propagate out to all users so be prepared to be patient.
Once the calendar privilege level has propagated out to all Google users then the Google Apps domain users should now be able to share their calendars with other users at whatever privilege levels they like.